Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lowepro Fastpack 350 (Arctic Blue)

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On streets or trails, you can shoot all day when you wear the lightweight, comfortable Fastpack 350 backpack by Lowepro. It protects a digital SLR with grip and a 24-70mm f/ 2.8 or 70-200mm f/2.8 lens attached, plus 17" Widescreen notebook. Generous storage for additional lenses such as 18-200mm, 100, 400 VR, or 70-300mm f/4, flash, and other personal accessories. You won't miss a shot, because side-entry compartments let you grab equipment and accessories, even while you're on the move or without taking the backpack completely off! Customize the easy-to-access main compartment with adjustable dividers, use the outer organizer to keep larger accessories handy, and manage memory cards with a built-in pocket. Brethable, contoured shoulder straps distribute weight evenly.

Technical Details

- Side Entry Compartment provides easy access to D-SLR equipment and accessories, even when pack is being worn
- Triple Compartment Design ensures superior camera protection, notebook protection (fits up to a 17" Widescreen), and organizes personal accessories
- 180-Degree access panel with adjustable dividers provides excellent protection in a customized fit that's easy to load.
- Outer accessory pockets provide external storage for other accessories with fast access, including a harness pocket for an MP3 player or Mobile Phone
- Tough, water-resistant outer fabric protects against moisture and abrasion
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Customer Buzz
 "This bag does not fit the HDX18" 2009-10-27
By Michael
I purchased this bag off of EBAY for a price much cheaper then Amazon's. It arrived just now and it appears to be a great bag. I could picture myself traveling with this bag and there is enough straps that you could probably run with this on in an emergency. Its very solidly built and stylish.

I had to return this bag because it does not fit the HP HDX18. If you have an 18.4 inch laptop, then it will most likely not fit.

The only concern I had with the bag was the cushioning on the back consisted of a rigid foam cushion of medium thickness. That is all that is protecting your laptop from the outside. This might be adequate for most applications seeing that that side of the bag will be facing yourself while you wear it. However, once you remove it from your back, the only thing that is protecting the laptop is the cushioning. Most briefcase laptop bags have compartments on both sides of the laptop that will cushion a fall or a heavy bump so you have the compartments and a few layers of cushioning to protect the laptop. So if you remove this bag from your back and throw it up into the carryon storage on an airplane then I suspect this might not offer the same protection as a classic briefcase bag.

Customer Buzz
 "Critical flaw" 2009-09-18
By Charlie Brown (Seattle, WA)
The idea is great. I am a hiker and I always bring my DSLR when hiking.

I always wanted a way I can quickly take out the camera from my backpack

and vice versa. I thought that this product might be the one that fulfill

my wish. When I tried at home after I received it, it looked great.

I can put all the necessary items for a day hike as well as my DSLR and

a couple of lenses. The real caveat happened when I hiked in reality.

I could not close the zipper or open it while I was wearing my backpack.

Sometimes opening was OK, but when I put my camera back and tried to

close it, the zipper wouldn't work. So, I had to put off my backpack anyway,

and then I had to use both of my TWO hands to close it. Sometimes, it's

the other way. I had to put off the backpack and then open it to get the

camera, but then closing was OK. And sometimes, I have problem both in

opening and closing. But I was never able to successfully open and close

with one hand while I was wearing the backpack.

So, for me, it is exactly the same as before. I have to put off my

backpack anyway. And I was wondering then why I bought this one ... ?

Thankfully, I bought this from Amazon, and I am returning this.

I really wanted it to work for me. Sadly it isn't. And I am looking forward to

a better one which is actually working while hiking.

I examined the zipper to see whether there is something wrong in the zipper.

And I compared it with the other products' zipper that are very smooth.

I found that LowePro's critical flaw is in its low quality small zippers.

Other products' zippers were much larger, very strong, and solid, as well as

very smooth. The zippers in LowePro are not. They are rather too small.

Not smooth. And it looked so weak that you will never know when the zippers

would be broken.

And hopefully the one that can hold tripod also (This one doesn't take the

tripod. There are videos and pictures here and there that show the trick

with which you can attach the tripod on this backpack. But trust me. If you

hike and you use such method, it will never work. And you will regret in the

middle of the mountain that you brought the tripod in that way).

Customer Buzz
 "Best Photo backpack ever" 2009-09-17
By M. Heltsley (Wisconsin)
I have about 7 photo bags now, none are perfect. A few are Lowepro whose products always seem more intuitive and useful to me. However I always find a reason to stop using most of them. I can already tell you the reason for this bag, it is huge, but that will not stop me from using it. In fact it will likely get used more because of it. I have smaller bags, ones designed for less conspicuous use, ones meant to be super light, etc. This one is meant to be big. It was my all purpose backpack on a trip through Ireland and Scotland and performed perfectly. In fact I had plenty of room for every thing. The bag is big, but small enough to fit on every flight, even the little planes, as carry on luggage. I am not going to check my camera gear so that was important. It is big enough that the upper compartment held all the extra stuff I needed aside from clothes which were in a different bag which was only accessible back in the hotels at night. So this backpack had to carry food, water, outerwear, PC, power, camera, lenses, misc camera gear, external HD, memory cards, lots of batteries, etc. It held all of this and was not even full. I even had all my travel documents, wallet, passport, etc in there along with mp3 player, USB headphones for Skyping back home, blackberrry, GPS, etc. It still had room.

It did get heavy by this point, but almost all of that was camera gear and my laptop, when I took out my camera with biggest lens and my PC it was like there was nothing on my back at all (ok, that is an exaggeration.) It was easy to access everything, even when on my back. I could easily swing it around under my left arm and access the entire camera section. You can also 'secure' the zippers for the camera section by simply zipping them all the way to one end of the zipper, putting them under the buckle down flap and away from would be camera snatchers in a crowd (I had heard that some people though that since the camera is accessible from the side that it would be an easy target for thieves). The buckle system keeps the entire camera area from being exposed allowing you to actually quickly open the bag, pull out the camera and swing the back back to your back without closing it and without worrying that stuff will come flying out. I would not recommend making a habit of it, but I did it (first in a controlled situation) with no problem and without anything shifting around in a way to indicate that it would be a problem. I would not try it with heavier lenses perhaps but my sigma 18-200 DC OS was happy as a clam in there even with the side zipper wide open. Of course I closed it as soon as I could, but the point is that in the heat of the moment you can pull out the camera without worrying about your stuff falling out on the ground.

I only have one complaint about this bag, the top is smaller than the bottom, meaning that the camera compartment is actually wider and deeper than the upper storage area. I am sure this is for saving weight and size or something but it seems like it could have actually had even MORE room pretty easily by just making the upper area the same (or closer at least ) dimensions as the padded camera section. Just my thoughts on it.

Customer Buzz
 "Rugged, big, and it protects my gear!" 2009-09-01
By L33tpilot (Washington, DC)
Love this bag! I don't often put a laptop in it, but when I want to the pocket is there. I find myself using this bag for overnight trips or even a 2 night getaway. I can cram enough clothing in here to make it. The laptop pocket acts as a place for 2-3 shirts.

The protection it offers is fantastic. You can adjust the pockets to your liking.

The only downfall, which doesn't really affect the rating, is the fact the camera can flop around in there. I fixed this by laying a folded tshirt over the body and lens. When you zip up the pocket, it forms a tight/soft grip over the camera to keep it in place. Problem fixed + I can carry 1 more shirt :)

Great bag. If it ever wears out, I'll buy another.

Customer Buzz
 "A bit too thick to fit into the overhead bin" 2009-08-30
By electron0511 (Blacksburg, VA)
I purchased the Lowepro Fastpack 350 so that I can take both my computer and camera equipment with me when I go on airplanes. If you have a LOT of camera equipment, then this bag is for you. The camera compartment is huge and can hold a lot of stuff. However, if you are like me and only have a camera, flash, a few filters, extra batteries, and maybe an extra lens, you will find it too large and too thick and there will be lots of leftover space. Also, as a result of the thickness (about 6 inches), the camera will not fit snugly and it will shift around inside. Cameras with battery grips attached may fair better. The computer compartment, on the other hand, is a bit too thin. I tried to put in my laptop in with its sleeve on but it was too tight. The overall thickness of the bag is a problem if you need to fly on small commuter planes with small overhead compartments. Because the bag is very rigid, which is a good thing to protect the camera and laptop, it cannot be stuffed into narrow spaces. I would have preferred the camera compartment to be thinner, the computer compartment to be thicker, and the overall thickness to be thinner.

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